Bridge the Travel Gap

Strange places I have slept on the road

Strange Places I have slept on the road

Over the years during my travels I have slept in some strange places on the road. In the 1990’s when the Berlin Wall came down I travelled to Hungary and Budapest. On arrival the information office told me that the citadel which had fantastic views of the city and Danube was a hostel so I got the bus up to it. It was a bit of an odd experience on arrival in the afternoon and the place was empty with the exception of an American backpacker. He told me his dorm was empty so I went up to the desk and asked for a bed for the night. The receptionist said the hostel was full. I then said but that guy over there said his dorm was empty. The receptionist looked me up and down, sighed and said Ok you can stay. I went and dumped my backpack in the dorm and went into town to explore the city. When I returned I sat in the reception area as there was no lounge and had a few beers with another backpacker. We noticed all these elderly suited men arriving with beautiful young women. They also went to the left of reception instead of the right where our room was located. They also returned after about half an hour, the penny dropped. I stayed a week at the hostel and I must say it was entertaining and the rooms were kept very clean and I had the dorm mostly to myself. In essence the hostel was a front for the brothel. Years later when I returned to Budapest and went back up to the citadel it become a museum which was even more surreal.


My second experience was arriving around midnight in Cairo airport. Where I joined a Contiki group who were taking the bus into town costing the grand price of 20 pence where the group met there tour guide. We got to Tahir Square and the group disappeared with there guide and I found myself completely alone with not a soul around. I then started to walk looking for a place to stay when a jeep of soldiers armed to the teeth pulled up. They spoke a little English and told me their was a military curfew and I must get off the street. Difficult to do with no taxi’s and not knowing where the hotels were in my price range. They took pity on me and gave me a ride in their jeep to what they said was a nice place called the Hotel Select. On arrival a very reluctant veiled woman after arguing with the soldiers in Arabic finally said come with me. The place was dark, dingy and a smell which was not pleasant enveloped me. My single room was rough to say the least and had seen better days. I was very thankful for my sleeping bag silk liner. This place was the polar opposite of the Budapest brothel in being disgustingly dirty and I had a night fighting off the bed bugs and listening through paper-thin walls to some strange groans from neighbouring rooms.

The next day I moved to the Pension Roma which was bed bug free, cleaner and not a house of ill repute!

Ot her places include a cemetary in Greece, a Yurt in China on the Karakoram Highway, castles in Germany where there were Youth Hostels and under the stars in Rajasthan on a desert camel trek without a tent.

Have you slept in any strange places on the road?


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